ANU Flood Caused “Extensive Damage” to Library Books, Redev Machinery

Flooded Chifley Meadows

Flooding has caused significant damage across dozens of buildings, as well as potentially thousands of dollars in damage to books, construction equipment, and infrastructure. This comes after the ANU closed campus for the day, stating, “The closure is to ensure the safety of all students and staff as the University conducts essential safety checks on infrastructure including bridges, creek banks and electrical switchboards.”

The flooding of Chifley Library caused “extensive damage” to many books. “The basement of Chiefly [sic] Library has been hard hit,” ANU said.

In today’s press conference, ANU Chief Operations Officer Chris Grange said that 11 excavators were “probably written off” by the flood. Grange also stated that liability for the cost lies with Lendlease, the company managing the equipment

In a statement released this afternoon, ANU said, “We don’t yet know the full impact of the damage. We don’t yet know the cost of the damage. It will take days if not weeks to have a full assessment.” These damages include flooding to Tjabal centre, and the meadows becoming “a pond”. The university has predicted delays to the construction work, as well as the need to reschedule dozens of classes, exams, and other events. While the damage “appear[ed] to be contained to one sector of campus”, the threat to student safety, as well as logistical confusion this would cause, led to the decision to close the entire campus by the full ANU Crisis Management Team. This is the first time in 11 years that ANU has closed, since a supercell hail storm in 2007.

Buildings that ran along Sullivan’s Creek experienced the grunt of the floods, as the Inner North experienced 66.2 mm of rain in the space of five hours. According to the University, Toad Hall was first hit on campus, with 250mm of water filling the ground floor of the post-grad residence. Flooding filled high-voltage power cable trenches at the John Dedman Building and the building site at Union Court, “completely submerging heavy equipment, including 11 excavators”. Half a metre of water filled the lower levels of the Chifley Library and AD Hope Building, and emergency power shut offs cut electricity to the “Pop up village, Copland, Haydon Allan, Arndt and other buildings”. A number of buildings remain without power.

Pictures of post-flood Chifley Library were posted on ANU Schmidtposting, showing books situated near the ground floor, as well as furniture and old electronics damaged. Students commented on the lost of books and the extent of damages to their study space, with Honours students expressing particular concern. A video was posted of students swimming in floodwaters in Chifley Meadow, despite warnings to stay away. An old video of students rafting in an overflowing Sullivan’s Creek was also posted.

ANU will re-open tomorrow for classes, excluding the AD Hope ground floor, Tjabal Centre, Melville Hall, Chifley Library and ANU’s ovals.

Crisis teams reconvened at 7:30am this morning to “map out the work that needs to be undertaken if the campus is to reopen on Tuesday.” The Bureau of Meteorology has not predicted more rain for tomorrow.

Michael Turvey & Adeline Tinessia contributed to this report.

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